Buhari summons US, UK envoys for condemning Twitter ban

The Muhammadu Buhari government has summoned the envoys of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union in Nigeria over their recent comments on the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.

This was contained in an invitation to pressmen issued on Monday morning by Kimiebi Ebienfa of the Crisis Monitoring and Public Communications Division of the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It read:

“I am directed to inform that following the recent ban on Twitter by the federal government and press statement issued by some heads of diplomatic missions accredited to Nigeria on the subject matter, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency, Geoffrey Onyeama has invited the affected ambassadors to a meeting today at 12 noon.

“The venue is Minister’s Conference Room, 8th Floor.

“You are hereby invited to cover the meeting. Thanks for your usual cooperation,” the invite read.

The countries involved had issued a joint statement to condemn Nigeria’s Twitter embargo.

The ban came after Twitter deleted a controversial civil war post by Muhammadu Buhari.

Although mobile operators have blocked their customers in the country from using Twitter, many Nigerians have switched to the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass the blockage.

Attorney-general Abubakar Malami had also ordered the prosecution of offenders contravening the government’s Twitter ban.

With over 200 million people, Nigeria had about 33 million active social media users as of January 2021.

WhatsApp is the most popular platform used in the country, with over 90 million users according to Statista.

Also according to Statista, about 61.4 per cent of Nigerian social media users use Twitter, 86.2 per cent use Facebook, 81.6 per cent use YouTube, 73.1 per cent use Instagram, and 67.2 per cent use Facebook Messenger.


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